Posts Tagged ‘#AgentsFirst’

graphic welcoming Theresa Kane-Mackenzie to Alliant National

Alliant National Welcomes Theresa Kane-Mackenzie as AVP & State Agency Manager Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Kane-Mackenzie will help lead Alliant National’s operations in the region.

Longmont, CO — (January 16, 2024) — Alliant National Title Insurance Company, the title insurer that is uniquely responsive to the needs of independent agents, is pleased to announce the hiring of Theresa Kane-Mackenzie as AVP & State Agency Manager PA & NJ.

Kane-Mackenzie comes to Alliant National with over 25 years of experience in the real estate and title insurance industries. She has worked for companies ranging from national underwriters to providers of specialized technology solutions for title insurers. She also brings along vast expertise in underwriting, real estate technology, title production, continuing education and customer service. By pairing this industry knowledge with her person-centered approach throughout her career, Kane-Mackenzie has gained unique insight into the market and routinely delivered the best possible results for Pennsylvania and New Jersey title agents.

At Alliant National, Kane-Mackenzie will be at the helm of the company’s operations and expansion efforts throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She will work collaboratively with policy-issuing agents to strengthen and streamline their procedures, processes, and workflows. She will also assist with business planning and continuing education initiatives. In keeping with Alliant National’s mission, Kane-Mackenzie will channel these activities toward empowering independent title agents to grow their businesses while increasing the company’s market share in the region.

“With her 25+ years of experience in both agency and vendor relations, Theresa is a tremendous addition to our regional agency team,” said Manoj Purohit, Senior Vice President, Great Lakes Regional Manager for Alliant National Title Insurance Company, in discussing her hiring. “She will be an integral part of our expansion into the Pennsylvania and New Jersey markets, and we are excited to have her at Alliant National.”

“It is a pleasure to join Alliant National as it grows its presence across Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said Kane-Mackenzie. “Since it began operating in 2005, Alliant National has become the premier independent underwriter for the independent agent. I am looking forward to becoming part of this team of incredible title professionals and delivering business gains for our policy-issuing agents.”

Kane-Mackenzie is an active member of the Pennsylvania Land Title Association (PLTA). She has previously served on the board of several trade and philanthropic organizations. She currently lives in New Jersey with her family.  

Alliant National supports its independent agents by combining expert residential and commercial underwriting with a passionate heart for service. The company delivers uncommon help that promotes the well-being of agents and the communities they serve.

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About Alliant National Title Insurance Company

Alliant National is on a mission to empower independent agents while protecting property owners with secure title insurance. The company partners with its agents and never competes against them with direct or affiliate operations. Alliant National serves thousands of title professionals as a licensed underwriter in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Visit alliantnational.com for additional information and follow Alliant National on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest company updates.

Rae Jeanne Steele - Meet Your Advantage Tam member spotlight graphic

Your Advantage: Rae Jeanne Steele Exemplifies Persistence and Service in Title Insurance

Alliant National’s Rae Jeanne Steele discusses the values that have defined her career.

Rae Jeanne Steele is no title industry newbie. Having built a successful career spanning several decades, she has a vivid perspective on how the field has changed over time. Yet Steele’s story also speaks to the age-old saying: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While technology, processes and workflows have shifted from year-to-year, Steele’s commitment to persistence, relationship-building and service have remained just as relevant as ever. These values are front and center in her work today at Alliant National.

Steele’s first exposure to the industry was in the 1980s when she started helping at her mother’s Texas-based real estate agency. Back then, the industry barely resembled what it is today. As Steele explains, “I can remember when we had an MLS book that was printed once a month. Nothing could be updated digitally the way it is now, and so, by the time you wanted to show a property, it might already be unavailable. Then there was the actual process of getting into a home, where you would have to call individual brokerage offices to schedule a showing and pick up the keys.” Over time, of course, technology started to change the industry. According to Steele, today “AI, mobile apps, smart home technology and digital lock boxes are all being used to streamline operations.”

Even amid such profound technological transformation, Steele’s approach to her work has remained remarkably consistent year-after-year. Many of her professional values originated from the period when she returned to working at her mother’s real estate agency in the mid-1990s, this time as a fully licensed agent. “My mom taught her realtors to have persistence when going after a goal,” said Steele. But that wasn’t all she learned back then. She also saw how much importance her mom placed on relationship building: “Following up. Building relationships. Keeping up with relationships. These are things I learned at a very young age from her.”

Other values that have grounded her over the years include having a spirit of service, and not just in her professional life. A long-time volunteer at her church, Steele and her family have frequently been involved in charity work, including scheduling, coordinating, cooking, and serving meals for hundreds of people as just one example.

Keeping these values close has served Steele well as she progressed in her career and eventually found her way to Alliant National in 2021. Persistence has been key, for instance, in her taking an active, intentional approach to expanding her industry knowledge and dealing with difficult professional moments. Instead of merely hoping to “live and learn,” for instance, she has chosen to rely on “education instead of merely experience to overcome challenges.” Her people skills have also been highly useful, particularly in achieving consensus around challenging topics with diverse parties: “I think one of the most surprising aspects of my job is the amount of time I spend explaining regulatory differences between real estate brokerages and title companies. There is a huge need to bridge that gap.”

As for the spirit of service that has long animated Steele’s life? Well, that is not just a feature of Alliant National but baked into its very foundation. “Alliant National is building a company where every agent can find a home,” she explained. She then noted how this requires serving agents’ needs by focusing on tangible business value. Steele dubs this approach as delivering “serious service based on sells” – that is, service that revolves around helping agencies gain advantage in real dollars and cents.

One way that Alliant National accomplishes this is through delivering topical educational resources through Alliant National Academy. Policy issuing agents of Alliant National have access to a growing catalogue of classes that focus not just on title insurance but also hot topics like leveraging AI for business gain. In addition, there are courses on how agents can nurture relationships with key stakeholders such as Realtors for mutual benefit. For Steele, offering these resources is not merely a competitive differentiator in the marketplace. It aligns perfectly with Alliant National’s overarching mission to empower agents, protect property owners and inspire innovation throughout the industry.

Our industry is always in flux, yet it’s timeless values like persistence and a commitment to service that provide our solid foundation. These are the principles that professionals like Rae Jeanne Steele bring to the forefront, equipping you with the unwavering support necessary to deliver the exceptional service your clients expect.

Tia Hall - Meet Your Advantage Tam member spotlight graphic

Your Advantage: It’s All About Community for Alliant National’s Tia Hall

In a varied career split between law enforcement, real estate and title insurance, Tia Hall has been driven by a desire to provide support to her community.

For nearly 25 years, Tia Hall has remained steadfastly committed to her community. From her early career in criminal justice to her current responsibilities at Alliant National, she has long been motivated by helping others. Well-versed in making departments and organizations operate more effectively, Hall’s work at Alliant National is invaluable to its Southeast operations.

Hall’s career path wasn’t a straight line, but rather a winding journey that brought together seemingly disparate fields in a harmonious blend. For well over a decade, Hall served as a criminal justice specialist for Cobb County in Georgia. However, one of Hall’s main responsibilities during these years would prove advantageous to her later career. Hall’s focus in criminal justice often revolved around community outreach and enabling officers to engage more productively with vulnerable populations. “Working within law enforcement is very strenuous work,” Hall said, reflecting on why such work is critical. “You are dealing with a lot of people from different walks of life.”

As fate would have it, Hall would come to interact with a group of people immersed in real estate. “I often interacted with lawyers and others in real estate,” she stated, “especially when I was working on real estate code enforcement.”

While she was forming these connections, Hall was taking other steps that would eventually pave the way toward her joining the title insurance industry. Building from a foundation in criminal justice and psychology, Hall began studying real estate and became a notary public , working as a loan signing and closing agent. Throughout all these professional moves, Hall’s motivation remained the same: “I wanted more community connections.”

In 2022, Hall made the leap into the career she has today, joining the Alliant National team as the Southeast Support Administrator. At Alliant National, Hall works with every department – from HR to continuing education to accounting – to ensure that agents are empowered to execute on behalf of their clients. Calling upon her long history of driving growth, as well as diverse skill sets in administration, resource management, data protection, team building and more, she acts as a one-stop shop for agents and employees throughout the Southeast.

One important aspect of Hall’s day-to-day work is protecting the large quantities of personal information that are part and parcel with the title insurance profession. This is another area where she is well-served by her previous experiences in law enforcement. When working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), for instance, Hall developed an acute appreciation for data protection. “There is a huge paper trail in this work,” she said, emphasizing that the failure to protect such data could quite literally ruin lives.

Now settled into her new career, Hall had several things to say when asked to sum up her experience, as well as the connection between her current responsibilities and yesterday’s roles. For her, helping the community is at the heart of both professions: “I love people. I love communicating. And I love to be a help for those in need.”

However, it’s in title insurance that Hall has found an ideal platform to pursue this passion, even more so than in law enforcement. “This industry is more close-knit,” she said, before noting how new employees can benefit from leveraging the field’s strong sense of community. When asked about what younger or less experienced workers should know, she remarked, “Employees need a strong foundation, as well as support to not get lost.”

For Hall, that communal support was what helped her as she made her initial foray into the business. It is also what continues to fuel her today as she works to deliver results for Alliant National’s agents. “At Alliant National, it is always easy to reach out if you need something. We’re always there for each other.”

With community-minded employees like Tia Hall amongst its ranks, Alliant National’s agents can rest assured that someone will always be there for them too.

Donna Slomins - Meet Your Advantage Team member spotlight graphic

Your Advantage: Donna Slomins Optimizes What It Means To Be “Agents First”

In the fiercely competitive realm of title insurance, where underwriters often prioritize their own interests, one exceptional individual stands out for her unwavering dedication to putting Agents First: Donna Slomins, SVP, Senior Agency Manager at Alliant National. With more than four decades of experience and an unparalleled commitment to serving agents, Donna has played a pivotal role in building Alliant National’s Florida operations from the ground up. Her remarkable contributions have left an indelible mark on both the company and the agents she serves.

Donna’s remarkable journey in the title insurance field began long before joining Alliant National. With previous experience working for large underwriters, she was determined to find an organization that genuinely prioritized the well-being of its agents. Thirteen years ago, Donna’s quest led her to Alliant National, where she saw a rare chance to live her passion. As Donna simply puts it: “I chose to work for Alliant National because they allowed me to do what’s in the best interest of our agents.”

Donna’s unwavering dedication to the success of agents has been the driving force behind the company’s remarkable success in the Florida market. However, establishing trust among agents who had never heard of the company was no easy feat during Alliant National’s early days in the state.

“All my agents trusted me enough to sign with Alliant when we were just getting started and no one knew who Alliant was,” Donna remembers. “I was able to overcome the challenge and I succeeded growing the business in Florida based on their trust and loyalty.”

Debra Coffie, Florida Region Manager, was also among those tasked with building Alliant National’s Florida operations in the early days, and she remembers Donna’s contributions.

“Donna Slomins’ dedication to putting Agents First is truly exceptional. She was the first Agency Manager in Florida, covering the whole state in the beginning, and was part of the driving force behind our success in growing the Florida Region,” Debra says. “Donna has built deep trust and loyalty among our agents. Her personal connections with agents, her tireless efforts, and her ability to relate well to their challenges make her an invaluable asset to Alliant National.”  

Today, Donna’s commitment to putting Agents First still requires a level of personal dedication that goes beyond the ordinary.

“Every day I strive to solve difficult problems and make life easier for our agents. Without them we have nothing,” Donna says, adding that she forges deep connections with her agents, spending time with them outside the office and connecting on multiple levels. To Donna, her agents are not just clients; they are friends and extended family. She understands their challenges and is driven to find solutions that make their jobs easier.

“I have worked or managed almost every aspect of our business, so I can relate well to my agents and their challenges,” Donna noted. “I work tirelessly to make them a priority, no matter the need.”

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, agents encounter many challenges, particularly in navigating complex technologies. Debra notes that Donna sees each challenge as an opportunity.

“Donna leads by example and embraces challenges as opportunities for improvement, making a positive impact in the lives of her agents. She is a fierce advocate for the agent and partners with them to find a solution for each challenge.”

Donna’s deep experience and exceptional instincts have helped Alliant National in other ways. She shares a powerful moment when her intuition guided her to uncover and prevent a major defalcation.

“Something was keeping me up at night even when everything looked good on paper, I put everything on the line and would not give up,” Donna said. “In the end my gut was right.”

Donna’s achievements at Alliant National have been instrumental in driving the company’s success in Florida and beyond. However, it is the profound impact she has on the lives of her agents that truly fuels Donna’s passion for her job.

“Every day is an opportunity to be better and to make my agents better.” Donna affirms. “Whatever the challenge is, I am up for it and will give it my all.”

Donna Slomins is the epitome of an Agents First advocate, leading by example and making a positive impact in the lives of her agents. Her dedication, intuition, and unwavering commitment have propelled Alliant National to new heights, while ensuring that agents receive the support and care they deserve. Donna’s personal journey and extraordinary contributions serve as an inspiration to all who strive to prioritize the needs of agents above all else.

doodle style illustration of two road signs representing the new way

Inventing as We Go: Post-Pandemic Business Operations

With many states choosing to lift their stay-at-home orders, many people are left wondering how to move forward in this new and uncertain landscape. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that there is no real “going back to normal.” A new normal will be achieved, but the idea that things will return to the way they were across the board is wishful thinking.

The notion of forming a new normal can be overwhelming on both a personal and professional level, but it’s something we find ourselves obligated to do in order to keep our businesses moving forward. Adding in the fact that everything feels topsy-turvy at the moment doesn’t help, either.

As an example, March and April were two of the heaviest order months in the history of title insurance. That influx is in direct conflict to the majority of other industries, many of which are struggling to stay afloat until whatever “new normal” can be achieved. Opening large numbers of orders is always exciting, but it’s critical that we realize this isn’t an evergreen influx of business.

It’s also important that we find a way to handle the large volume of orders in a way that keeps customers satisfied. Normally, the industry response to such a deluge of business is to hire more personnel. However, several large companies have, in fact, reduced staffing levels despite record orders and near record revenue. In the current COVID-19 world, it means learning to adapt on a company-wide scale.

As we all adapt, keep in mind that there will be very real pressure to reduce or even eliminate some risk management procedures in an effort to save costs. This is a dangerous time to consider such a reaction for either independent agents or underwriters. Many of the normal processes for risk management are difficult to maintain as a large percentage of employees are now working remotely. However, staff being remote does not remove the fiduciary responsibility we have to safeguard the public trust.

Another area of concern for the future is that governors and elected officials across the country are suspending laws and regulations, which continually move the regulatory goal posts. RON, RIN, Mobile Notary statutes, and recording regulations have all been changed using “executive orders.”

What will happen when creative plaintiffs’ attorneys challenge foreclosures, loan defaults, etc.? Underwriters will be called upon to defend lenders under their loan policies. Are courts and juries more likely to side with borrowers? Will foreclosures spike with dramatically increased unemployment? These added complications make it more important than ever for title agents to remain focused on the details, no matter how small they may seem. Be sure you have an underwriter who will stand behind you as an agent, and who can keep you up-to-date on regulatory issues.

While we will gradually return to whatever is the new normal, bear in mind that the surge in orders is a temporary reaction to low interest rates and the need to access equity that is currently locked into homes. These high numbers now don’t guarantee high numbers in the future. Be mindful of the regulatory adjustments that affect your role in the title and closing process, and adjust to the new work-from-home landscape as best as you can.

We have a lot of tools in our respective tool-belts. We just have to use them wisely and correctly.

During these uncertain times, Alliant National seeks to support our independent agents, helping to chart a path forward for continued business growth. Agents can access a wide range of tools and up-to-date Covid-related information at https://alliantnational.com/coronavirus/.

Feel free to reach out directly to me at randerson@alliantnational.com or 214-293-8067.

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